Many years and several bottles of Jägermeister ago I produced a few songs and ran the live soundstage for a couple of local bands. At the time digital recording with computers was in its infant stages. Logic Audio could still be run on the PC and Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) was putting out better hardware than Pro Tools. It was a very exciting time for digital music since we were pioneering new techniques and battling latency at every turn. This period in my life played a large role in my career as a storage product tester since back then money was scarce and dual processor motherboards, rack mount equipment and even the balanced cables were expensive as hell. Making the most out of what was available turned into an art and one of the best ways to get the most out of the recording equipment was savaging for high speed 15K RPM SCSI drives. Looking back, it really amazes me what all we were able to do with a few hundred dollars of software and a few computers pieced together from server scraps.
Digital content has grown in all forms and new standards have put even more of a burden on storage. Lossless codecs and raw material have grown in size and a computer's ability to access the data quickly is even more challenging than it was ten years ago due to the sheer volume of data needed. Back in the day a few 18GB X15's would do the trick, nowadays the program suites being run are larger than 18GB! The bus width has also changed considerably, Ultra2 Wide SCSI at 80 MB/s was hot stuff, but the products we are looking at today are capable of churning data at close to 20 times that rate.
Today we are looking at a product from iStorage Pro. iStorage Pro is part of the Ci Design, a major ODM with over 25 years of experience making products for major OEMs. Recently Ci Design entered the retail market under the iStorage Pro label and currently have over 25 models set to be released.
As with any new venture, getting products on store shelves and in the major e-tail outlets is difficult. iStorage Pro is such a new name in the storage circles that we were unable to find their products at the discount e-tail shops that we normally look at for pricing, but products like the one we are testing today are made for very specific purposes. The iT8SAE that we are looking at today is built for serious A/V production, but just like when I was savaging server parts ten years ago, the A/V market has turned to tried and true storage technologies that were born in the server room and migrated to serve these high performance areas that are critical to the production of our daily entertainment.
Let's take a look at the specifications for the iStorage Pro iT8SAE.